On the French penchant for inventing things already in existence elsewhere

François Dominique Séraphin, Bourbon favourite and reputedly the father of ombres chinoises (shadow puppetry), began operating 15 years later than is generally thought, and may have copied his techniques from an itinerant Italian or a London Alsatian. Featuring the memoirs of the valet to the later Louis XVII, early descriptions of the delights of the renovated Palais Royal (including a pygmy show), jolly old Baron Grimm on the lamentable state of French opera, shadow plays, and marionettes, and William Beckford’s favourite designer of theatrical perversions.

Philip James de Loutherbourg's Eidophusikon around 1782.

Sister Mary and the Bird

Translations from Welsh and Yiddish revealing ornithomancy amongst the 19th century north Welsh and Jewish Lithuanians.

Fortune-telling budgies with organ-grinders in an unidentified location: Odessa? No idea how I came by the photo either.

Yiddish and the Italian Welsh

Daffy-down-dilly has been and fled / Her yellow-green gown all stained in red. Featuring Google Translate’s transliteration service for unfamiliar scripts.

Napoleon meets a Welshman (1810-5). Dad's granny's granny used to recount seeing the Welsh march away to fight at Waterloo.

Karl Marx condemns organ-grinders!

“Vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged jailbirds, escaped galley slaves, swindlers, mountebanks, lazzaroni, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, maquereaux, brothel keepers, porters, literati, organ grinders, ragpickers, knife grinders, tinkers, beggars”

Membres de la société de secours du dix Décembre, dans l'exercice de leurs philanthropiques fonctions.

My top 10 boxing songs

All-star bill featuring Dan Mendoza aka the fighting Jew, manly Victorians, Joe Louis and the Dixieaires at the Battle of Jericho, Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, Rocky Graziano aka the Maharishi Yoghurt, Bob Dylan and Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, Muhammad Ali and over-reliance on computer technology, Rich Hall and the George Foreman Grill, Wesley Willis and Batman, and Ivor Cutler.

Richard Humphries' second blocks a crucial blow from Daniel Mendoza in the 1788 bout.

Arabitch bath

Studiolum@Poemas del río Wang visited the so-called Arab baths* at Palma de Mallorca and discovered that in some language or another they pertain to “A woman from the middle east or Arabia that is a bitch.” *Gabriel Ensenyat i Pujol of the University of the Balearic Islands, mysteriously absent from the THE’s current list of…